ArtyStart Monday – Watercolor Fleshtones. Gettin’ a little MIXMASTER C.

04/08/2013 - 4 minutes read

Color mediums ROCK! So many options, so many scrumptious COLORS! Copic markers alone have 358 color options. WHOOSH! There’s a color for almost everything you can dream to create…

I was admiring a fellow artists, amazingsauce Girly FACE this past week on FB: Tracey Malnofski and she commented how she did the entire piece with watercolor except for the face. We both shared how it was a struggle to get a great fleshtone in watercolor and much easier to achieve in colored pencil

So, she inspired me to think on it and get a little mixology goin’

Color mixology, that is… COLOR THEORY… WHA? Well… what I know for sure about color mediums… NO two colors from any manufacturer are the same. And… GRASS GREEN isn’t necessarily the color of grass. Sometimes, the names of colors are inventive, but not necessarily a WYSIWYG kind of thing.

Since I have been drawing more faces lately, and I LOVE. LOVEY my watercolors, it was time to get on the WHEEL, push out of my comfort zone of creating faces with colored pencil and copics and create a fleshtone with watercolor. Oh, and FLESH in most watercolor palettes…. um… isn’t flesh… but, really orange. So, yeppers, the names of the colors can be deceiving.

I’m not a color mixing expert, but I do know my color wheel, and I DO KNOW that WATERCOLOR is a bit unpredictable and kind of does it’s own thing sometimes. But, I LOVE the looks I can create. So, I thought I would share a little experiment with you, for fun, for inspiration, for your own pleasure. Not a hard and fast rule, just an experiment.

I decided to mix up a flesh color with Peerless Watercolors, PH Martin’s Hydrus Watercolors and for a pencil… Derwent Inktense. A little experiment… AND… focus on complementary colors.

Complementary colors (colors opposite each other on the color wheel) neutralize each other when mixed together. When they are placed side by side they intensify one another.


Here’s what I discovered. Focusing on the Violet and Orange families (complementary colors directly across from each other on the color wheel) I could mix up some peachy, pinky fleshtones that made for a great FACE color. Super quick, not a lot of thinkin’.

Let’s get a little MIXMASTER C, shall we?Fleshtones

Peerless: Mix FLESH TINT with MAUVE

PH Martin’s: Chrome Yellow mixed with Cobalt Violet and/or Quinacrodone Violet and Deep Hansa Yellow

Inktense: Red Violet and Cadmium Orange.

Here’s what happened. I loved all three combinations and used the Peerless combo to do the underpainting in the face below. It made for a great base flesh tone to build up layers of other mediums over top. Water is your friend in this color mixology experiment and you need very little of both colors to make the fleshtone happen. Just a little bit of both and your good to go.

Give it a whirl! Get all MIXMASTER C and mix up some color.

Happy Monday!

P.S. My favorite, no thinkin’ COPIC MARKER fleshtone color combo is.

E50, 51, 53, 55

Just Sayin’ 🙂